Tuesday, November 23, 2004


Mistakes were made...

The investigation of the Istook Amendment, the provision in the omnibus spending bill allowing committee chairmen and staffers to peruse income tax returns, has taken on a life of its own. It's another example of the "mistakes were made" syndrome, a Washington disease by which something bad occurs but no one is responsible. As the Washington Post reports:

"On Saturday, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) referred to the provision as the "Istook amendment," and congressional aides said it had been inserted at the request of Rep. Ernest J. Istook Jr. (R-Okla.), who chairs the Appropriations subcommittee that oversees the IRS.

But yesterday Istook said in a written statement that he had been left in the dark about the provision: "I didn't write it; I didn't approve it; I wasn't even consulted. My name shouldn't be associated with it because I had nothing to do with it.""http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A5738-2004Nov22.

This syndrome has probably been around since the founding of the Republic, but has become epidemic and endemic since Iran-Contra when President Reagan admitted that "mistakes were made", but never identified who made them.
Finding the author of the Istook Amendment should not require Sherlock Holmes or a blue-ribbon commission. Some individual typed the provision. Some individual requested the amendment. It will be a test of the Republican House leadership to find out who. Maybe they could hire Ken Starr...

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